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September 26, 2023

Speeding fishing boats a threat to passenger vessels

In Kochi’s backwaters, accelerating fishing boats continue to be a menace to passenger ships. In the most recent instance, a Ro-Ro vessel’s back was rammed on Saturday night by a fishing boat travelling at high speed. The boat sped off into the water, making it impossible for the police and fisheries officers to find it.
The Ro-operator, Ro’s Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation, complained to the Mulavukadu police on Sunday morning. Iswaran, a boat that the police believe was registered outside of Kalamukku Harbour, was located.

“When a vessel enters the backwater or leaves it through the barmouth, the operators should be careful,” said a fisheries department official. However, the fisheries department is not keen on ensuring that the fishing boats enter and leave the backwaters through barmouth with utmost care by limiting speed.

In the meantime, a Cochin Port Trust source claimed, “All ships and boats must slow down in order to prevent disturbing the small vessels in the harbor. The boat operator won’t be able to see the front because the fishing boats’ prows are too tall. To steer the boat, there ought to be someone at the prow.”

According to the Vypeen-Fort Kochi Passengers’ Association, passengers as well as country boats are in danger because of the fishing boats’ careless speeding.

“The report of Padmakumar Commission, which was formed after the boat incident in Fort Kochi in August 2015, has cited the threat posed by speeding fishing boats. Poor visibility due to the height of the prow might be the reason for Saturday’s incident. The issue was raised in the report as well. Government should introduce changes in the design of the fishing boats to reduce accidents,” said association president Francis Chammany.

According to the research, a lot of people drive fishing boats without a licence. The speed of the boat was restricted to 7.0 knots in accordance with the circular published on September 7, 2015. According to the research, however, boats operate in violation of this and there is no system in place to verify it.

According to Charles George, president of Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi, all fishing boats are now required to operate slowly and carefully.

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